Meet Arts & Science Program and Faculty of Humanities valedictorian Christopher Maclean

A headshot of Christopher Maclean

Christopher Maclean will deliver the valedictory address at the Arts & Science program and Faculty of Humanities Convocation ceremony on June 10.

Arts & Science program and Faculty of Humanities valedictorian Christopher Maclean graduates June 10 with an Honours Justice, Political Philosophy, and Law (JPPL) degree with a minor in Global Peace and Social Justice.  

We asked the McMaster graduate a few questions to get to know him ahead of his valedictory address. 

How has McMaster shaped the person you are today? 

Without McMaster, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the holistic learning that helped me become who I am today. I say that because much of my growth extended beyond the tests I studied for, the papers I wrote, and what I learned in lectures; it was the whole experience. The challenges I faced, the friends I made, the clubs I joined, the exchanges I had, and the opportunities I’ve embraced, all contributed to my development by enhancing my perspectives and influencing my journey of ongoing discovery. McMaster has taught me that growth can come from any situation or encounter, you just need to be open to the lessons you could learn even in the most unexpected moments. 

Tell us about a favourite memory during your time at McMaster. 

I will always cherish the JPPL Society events, meetings and team bondings with my executive team family, participating in Model UN conferences, the Humanities Formals, and hanging out with my Black Student Success Centre mentee. But if I had to pick one standout memory, it would undoubtedly be Welcome Week. It is truly inspiring to be on a team of caring and energetic reps who help move first-year McMaster students into their residences, chant and cheer, assist in friendship-making, and help calm the anxieties of incoming students by welcoming them to the community. I have made so many awesome friends from my experience as a rep and Pod leader that I would not trade for the world so I would have to pick that. Say it with me now…N.A.V.Y.N.A.T.I.O.N.S. Navy Nation is the best!!! 

Eight students in navy Welcome Week gear pose for a photo by the Edwards Arch on McMaster’s campus

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given that you think other students could benefit from?  

I once received advice from one of my favourite professors, Lyndsey Beutin, which was: “No one knows everything; everyone knows something; together we know a lot.” Those words always resonated with me because they capture how some of the best learning you will have in university (and in life) stems from your peers and community. If we humbly value each other’s unique perspectives collectively, we can achieve remarkable things within and beyond academics. Whether it’s a matter of speaking up in class, being in spaces you never felt you could contribute to, or even being in university in general, the truth is that you belong because you bring value only you can in a community that needs your voice and your willingness to listen. So, to all the students, I say: take advantage of every opportunity to learn from others and to share your voice in your community. 

How do you think it is going to feel crossing the convocation stage? 

I can imagine I will feel a complete whirlwind of emotions: gratitude, excitement, a sense of surrealness, and probably a lot of nostalgia. But above all, I know it will be an incredibly satisfying and fulfilling moment. I can also say that when I do walk across that stage, I hope to do my best to soak in all my emotions the best I can as it is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for my community and I. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your time at McMaster?  

When it came to considering my choices of where to apply for my undergraduate, I knew McMaster had to be at the top of my list. After all, I was even born at McMaster Hospital. However, it was not until my grandfather demanded that I go here because of how proud he was of living in Hamilton near one of the greatest schools in all of Canada after immigrating — that is when I realized early on there was no other university for me. Every day, I am more thankful for his help in making that decision, as being a part of this community will be something I will always treasure because of the people, experiences, growth, and memories that I have made at Mac.  

I am truly filled with so much gratitude for the support and encouragement I have received from all my friends and family, my professors, TAs, faculty, mentors, and my mentees. This really is as much your achievement as it is mine. Thank you to everyone for making my time at McMaster so memorable and impactful for me. 

Click here for stories, videos and highlights from Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies and celebration events 

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